Usernet spam - Slackware

This is a discussion on Usernet spam - Slackware ; Guy Macon wrote : > Just as a refresher for anyone who is reading this, newsroups > that start with "alt." can be created by anyone who chooses to > do so. with "sci." or "rec." there is a procedure ...

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Thread: Usernet spam

  1. Re: Usenet spam


    Guy Macon wrote :

    > Just as a refresher for anyone who is reading this, newsroups
    > that start with "alt." can be created by anyone who chooses to
    > do so. with "sci." or "rec." there is a procedure that insures
    > that there is some level of interest.


    Thats not entirely correct. If you create a alt. group without following
    the correct procedure you cant be sure that the group is accepted by all
    newsservers. And if your in bad luck there's a newsbofh out there who
    get pissed at you and send out a rmgroup message.

    > Others, such as "microsoft." are run under a wide variety of different
    > rules.


    Vendor groups like microsoft., netscape. and opera. who has their own
    server its probably only the newsbofh here who can create a new group.
    --
    Thomas O.

    This area is designed to become quite warm during normal operation.

  2. Re: Usenet spam

    Some Phat Phuck says:

    >The Standard Answer to any comments that anything is wrong with
    >an alt. newsgroup has always been "you don't like it? Create your
    >own newsgroup with whatever it is you don't like changed." For
    >example, if someone doesn't like alt.os.linux.slackware because
    >the posts contain the letter "e", they are free to create a new
    >group called "alt.os.linux.slackware.no-e" and see whether anyone
    >wishes to use it and if so whether they will follow the rule about
    >the letter e. Or they could make "alt.os.linux.slackware.no-e" a
    >moderated group and reject any post that contains the letter "e."


    How about a group called alt.os.linux.slackware.no-guymacon? How do
    you think that would go over?

    -
    >I predict that there won't be very many folks who wish to talk
    >about slackwar#, but you never know.


    >As for whether there is little point in a newsgroup being in
    >the alt. hierarchy if it is moderated, in most cases there
    >is little point in a newsgroup being in the alt. hierarchy
    >peroid. that's why the alt. hierarchy was created; so that
    >anyone can create anything and try to attract users. As for
    >the stronger claim that no groups in the alt. hierarchy
    >should be moderated, in my opinion the Standard Answer above
    >applies, and there should be *no* restrictions on alt. groups.
    >Just my opinion, of course. The reality is that there is no
    >mechanism for imposing any restrictions and thus the point
    >is moot. Or, as half the Internet seems to call it, "mute."


    And yet you send out your little complaints to isps about postings
    that are made to alt.os.linux.slackware, don't you sweetie?

    You are one of the all-time phoneys, Macon. All-time. Of course we
    already knew this, didn't we, Mr. Engineer.

    cordially, as always,

    rm

  3. Re: Usenet spam

    On Sat, 28 Jul 2007 19:32:53 +0000, anon wrote:



    > And yet you send out your little complaints to isps about postings
    > that are made to alt.os.linux.slackware, don't you sweetie?


    Ahhhh.... this now makes some sense... Did poor little Roger get his
    access removed by his ISP for continued complaints? This would explain
    your recent postings as "anon" and other nicknames, and from different
    servers.

    LOL! "rm" got the boot from his ISP... hehehehehe

    Bugger off, wanker.


    --
    "Bother!" said Pooh, as Christopher Robin pleaded to be spanked again.


  4. Re: Usernet spam

    loki harfagr wrote:
    > On Fri, 27 Jul 2007 03:58:54 -0700, Ottavio Caruso wrote:
    > > I'm curious, how do you do that?

    >
    > just check the extended headers of his post and
    > you'll know,


    Aaahh, now I get it.

    > as well as the difference between thinking you
    > were curious and to be curious ;-)


    I'm lost!
    Is that because I should have checked the headers first?

    Ottavio
    http://www.pledgebank.com/boycottvista


  5. Re: Usenet spam

    Two Ravens wrote:

    > I suspect that as with the majority of those who are subscribed to them
    > ~kurt feels that the raison d'ete of the groups in the alt. hierarchy
    > is that they aren't, with some exceptions, moderated.


    These people would be wrong: the "raison d'etre" of the alt.* hierarchy
    is that there are fewer restrictions on the creation of groups within
    that hierarchy than in others, such as the "Big-Eight" and regionals.
    There's nothing about group moderation (or lack thereof) in the
    reasoning behind the original creation of an alt.* newsgroup hierarchy.

    I count 32 groups presently carried on the news server I manage, under
    alt.*, that are moderated, and we don't carry anywhere near a full alt.*
    feed (for reasons of capacity). Some (most?) of these groups have been
    around for many years.

    > Further I suspect that he shares with many others the opinion that the
    > groups in the alt. hierarchy, should not be moderated.


    It may be an opinion held by some, but it has nothing to do with the
    reality of the alt.* newsgroup hierarchy, I'm afraid.

    > I share his opinion that there is little point in a newsgroup being in
    > the alt. hierarchy if it is moderated.


    The presence of a newsgroup in the alt.* hierarchy has absolutely
    nothing to do with its moderation status ...

    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sylvain Robitaille syl@alcor.concordia.ca

    Systems and Network analyst / Newsmaster Concordia University
    Instructional & Information Technology Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

  6. Re: Usenet spam

    Thomas Overgaard wrote:

    > Thats not entirely correct. If you create a alt. group without
    > following the correct procedure you cant be sure that the group is
    > accepted by all newsservers.


    You can't be sure of that in any case with alt.* groups. It isn't
    uncommon for groups within that hierarchy to be added to a news server
    strictly on a "by request" basis. Unlike the "Big Eight" and several
    regional hierarchies, where there's an accepted procedure for newsgroup
    creation that is generally accepted among news admins, alt.* has a
    "defined" procedure, but very little enforcement.

    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sylvain Robitaille syl@alcor.concordia.ca

    Systems and Network analyst / Newsmaster Concordia University
    Instructional & Information Technology Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

  7. Re: Usenet spam

    Sylvain Robitaille wrote:

    >> Further I suspect that he shares with many others the opinion that the
    >> groups in the alt. *hierarchy, should not be moderated.

    >
    > It may be an opinion held by some, but it has nothing to do with the
    > reality of the alt.* newsgroup hierarchy, I'm afraid.
    >
    >> I share his opinion that there is little point in a newsgroup being in
    >> the alt. hierarchy if it is moderated.

    >
    > The presence of a newsgroup in the alt.* hierarchy has absolutely
    > nothing to do with its moderation status ...


    Thank you for the information, (very educative, and sincerely appreciated),
    I, and I am sure others, ~kurt for instance, shared an assumption,
    concerning moderation/censorship and the alt.* newsgroup hierarchy.

    Whilst You have enlightened me, I'm still of the opinion that there needs to
    be a place where freedom of expression means just that, no matter how
    upsetting others may find it, freedom of expression has to be a total
    freedom, otherwise it is not a freedom.
    --
    Two Ravens
    "...hit the squirrel..."

  8. Re: Usenet spam - Guy Mac


    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8Bit


    Two Ravens wrote:
    >
    >Sylvain Robitaille wrote:
    >
    >>> Further I suspect that he shares with many others the opinion that the
    >>> groups in the alt. *hierarchy, should not be moderated.

    >>
    >> It may be an opinion held by some, but it has nothing to do with the
    >> reality of the alt.* newsgroup hierarchy, I'm afraid.
    >>
    >>> I share his opinion that there is little point in a newsgroup being in
    >>> the alt. hierarchy if it is moderated.

    >>
    >> The presence of a newsgroup in the alt.* hierarchy has absolutely
    >> nothing to do with its moderation status ...

    >
    >Thank you for the information, (very educative, and sincerely appreciated),
    >I, and I am sure others, ~kurt for instance, shared an assumption,
    >concerning moderation/censorship and the alt.* newsgroup hierarchy.
    >
    >Whilst You have enlightened me, I'm still of the opinion that there needs to
    >be a place where freedom of expression means just that, no matter how
    >upsetting others may find it, freedom of expression has to be a total
    >freedom, otherwise it is not a freedom.


    In what way does the existence of a moderated newsgroup interfere
    with your freedom of expression if you are free to create an
    unmoderated newsgroup on the same topic?

    We both agree that the world wide web should have full freedom
    of expression and that you should be able to put whatever you
    wish on your web site, but I doubt that you would agree that
    you should be able to put whatever you wish on *my* web site.
    So why are the two cases different in your mind but not mine?

    I think that the basic difference in your attitude between the
    two is based upon an assumption that websites can be owned and
    newsgroups can't. The reality is that, by design and according
    to the clear intent of the developers who designed Usenet, and
    by agreement among the owners of the news servers that carry
    Usenet, newsgroups *can* be owned -- the moderator essentially
    owns the group and can do as he chooses with it.

    A related concept is that many users are under the impression that
    they collectively own the unmoderated newsgroups. They don't, and
    the ownership is independent/cooperative, not collective. Each
    owner of a news server can decide what newsgroups to carry, who
    is allowed to post to them and all other ownership decisions. They
    as a rule follow certain agreements (including ceding control to
    moderators), but the only thing that stops them from doing things
    differently is that they may find that other news server owners
    refuse to connect to them.

    --
    Guy Macon






  9. Re: Usernet spam

    On Mon, 30 Jul 2007 10:02:51 -0700, Ottavio Caruso wrote:

    > loki harfagr wrote:
    >> On Fri, 27 Jul 2007 03:58:54 -0700, Ottavio Caruso wrote:
    >> > I'm curious, how do you do that?

    >>
    >> just check the extended headers of his post and
    >> you'll know,

    >
    > Aaahh, now I get it.
    >
    >> as well as the difference between thinking you were curious and to be
    >> curious ;-)

    >
    > I'm lost!
    > Is that because I should have checked the headers first?


    Yes :-) But don't worry, it was just a wink ;-)

  10. Re: Usenet spam Re: Usenet spam

    Guy Macon wrote:

    > In what way does the existence of a moderated newsgroup interfere
    > with your freedom of expression if you are free to create an
    > unmoderated newsgroup on the same topic?


    It doesn't, I chose not to subscribe to moderated/censored newsgroups, and
    fully accept the consequences of that choice. Therefore I am left with the
    freedom to express my views in the main, in the manner I choose.

    > We both agree that the world wide web should have full freedom
    > of expression and that you should be able to put whatever you
    > wish on your web site...


    No, in this case we don't agree, on usenet I think we, (everyone who can
    work a newsreader rather than access it through Google Groups), should have
    freedom of expression in *some* specific newsgroups, that way one has to
    know what one is looking for if one wishes to express some form of
    intolerance or other. Moderated or censored newsgroups are not a place
    where one has full freedom of expression.

    > ...but I doubt that you would agree that
    > you should be able to put whatever you wish on my web site.
    > So why are the two cases different in your mind but not mine?


    I don't agree that anyone should be able to alter anyone else's Web-site,
    why would I? I can also accept that there may be a level of restriction
    imposed upon the content of Web-sites by the legislation of some Nations,
    whether or not I agree that there should be is a separate matter.

    > I think that the basic difference in your attitude between the
    > two is based upon an assumption that websites can be owned and
    > newsgroups can't. The reality is that, by design and according
    > to the clear intent of the developers who designed Usenet, and
    > by agreement among the owners of the news servers that carry
    > Usenet, newsgroups can be owned -- the moderator essentially
    > owns the group and can do as he chooses with it.


    In which case you misunderstand me. I make no assumption that newsgroups can
    not be owned, they are 'owned' fora there to be subscribed to. One does so
    fully aware that one is placing oneself in a very public forum, in the case
    of the groups to which I am subscribed, in the fora of a) the English
    speaking world, nay that section of the world that can write and read any
    one of the many forms or varieties of English there are, and b) in the more
    restricted fora of those who share with me an interest in the learning,
    promotion and use of a second or further language, a separate interest of
    mine, and whilst I am aware that you and I are also subscribed to other
    newsgroups in which we share an interest there are further newsgroups to
    which I am subscribed which I do not believe that you, in one guise or
    another are.

    You currently have a problem, in that you perceive that someone is harassing
    you, there are two solutions to that, either make whatever complaint you
    feel able, to the proper body involved in dealing with such problems, or
    ignore it, there is no further realistic option, such as attempting to
    enlist others who may use whatever newsgroups you are subscribed to either
    sympathize, (which many may do), or take any action on your behalf. In the
    latter case, by doing so you could well find that the problem you feel you
    suffer, may, from your point of view, worsen.

    > A related concept is that many users are under the impression that
    > they collectively own the unmoderated newsgroups.


    I'm not suffering from that delusion. How could I be? I have to pay to use
    the newsgroups I do, and am prevented by the news provider posting to some
    specified groups, even though I can read them.

    I am grateful to Sylvain, in that he has educated me further on the nature
    of newsgroups, however I was always aware that there are limitations
    on 'usenet' on what one can do, and how one can go about doing it.
    --
    Two Ravens
    "...hit the squirrel..."

  11. Re: Usenet spam

    Two Ravens (two-ravens@operamail.org) writes:
    > Sylvain Robitaille wrote:
    >
    >>> Further I suspect that he shares with many others the opinion that the
    >>> groups in the alt. *hierarchy, should not be moderated.

    >>
    >> It may be an opinion held by some, but it has nothing to do with the
    >> reality of the alt.* newsgroup hierarchy, I'm afraid.
    >>
    >>> I share his opinion that there is little point in a newsgroup being in
    >>> the alt. hierarchy if it is moderated.

    >>
    >> The presence of a newsgroup in the alt.* hierarchy has absolutely
    >> nothing to do with its moderation status ...

    >
    > Thank you for the information, (very educative, and sincerely appreciated),
    > I, and I am sure others, ~kurt for instance, shared an assumption,
    > concerning moderation/censorship and the alt.* newsgroup hierarchy.
    >
    > Whilst You have enlightened me, I'm still of the opinion that there needs to
    > be a place where freedom of expression means just that, no matter how
    > upsetting others may find it, freedom of expression has to be a total
    > freedom, otherwise it is not a freedom.


    But if we slap down some bozo for posting off-topic, that's
    not limiting "freedom of expression", that's merely keeping
    a newsgroup created to discuss a certain topic on-topic.

    We haven't limited his right to speak, we have just told
    him to go somewhere else to speak. There are thousands
    of newsgroups, and if none fit what he wants to say, he's
    welcome to create a new newsgroup for that discussion.

    A newspaper can choose what it publishes, and it doesn't limit
    "free speech" if it won't let some topics be covered. The group
    or person can go out and start up their own newspaper, and speak
    all they want.

    If that newspaper is shut down because of what's being said, then
    that's a free speech issue.

    There is little difference between someone wanting their issue
    to get into the local newspaper, and some spammer in a newsgroup.
    In both cases, they want to take advantage of the existing cluster
    to provide readership to what they are saying. But they aren't
    particularly interested in the newspaper or newsgroup, they
    simply want to get across their message. But in both cases,
    they forget that if the existing content went away, there'd
    be no readership for their specific message or spam.

    So when the Concordia newsgroup went moderated, I gather it
    was deliberately to shut someone very specific out of the
    newsgroup. But that didn't shut up the guy, despite him
    being in jail for almost 15 years. He merely found some other
    place to spout off, some other group of people to bother with
    his junk posts.

    And I should point out that his posts (they were actually
    posted by someone else) have disappeared from the local
    newsgroup since last fall, when I made a point of trying to
    reach the poster. We'll see towards the end of August what's
    happened, but I'm hoping we actually have seen the last of
    his posts. And ultimately our "freedom" to directly address
    the poster in an attempt to get rid of him, or at least
    to speak the truth against his lies, were more important than
    articles in old media about "oh no, a murderer is posting to the
    newsgroups". I have taken people to task for doing that, which
    resulted in the murderer getting far more coverage.

    "Freedom of expression" works both ways. My right to not be
    annoyed by someone posting off topic shouldn't be less valid than
    their right to post away. If I say "you shouldn't have the right
    to say that" then I am trying to squelch their free speech. If
    I merely tell them to go elsewhere, I am not.

    Michael


  12. Re: Usenet spam

    Michael Black wrote:

    > But if we slap down some bozo for posting off-topic, that's
    > not limiting "freedom of expression", that's merely keeping
    > a newsgroup created to discuss a certain topic on-topic.
    >

    If you "slap down some bozo" where is the difference in that and exercising
    a freedom of expression? The phrase "slap down some bozo" is indicitive of
    a certain disregard of what is human in everyone, your 'bozo' is who? Or
    what?
    >
    > We haven't limited his right to speak, we have just told
    > him to go somewhere else to speak. *There are thousands
    > of newsgroups, and if none fit what he wants to say, he's
    > welcome to create a new newsgroup for that discussion.


    On behalf of which 'We' are you the appointed spokesman?

    > A newspaper can choose what it publishes, and it doesn't limit
    > "free speech" if it won't let some topics be covered. *The group
    > or person can go out and start up their own newspaper, and speak
    > all they want.
    >
    > If that newspaper is shut down because of what's being said, then
    > that's a free speech issue.


    If it goes bust because no one buys it that's also a free speech issue.

    > "Freedom of expression" works both ways. *My right to not be
    > annoyed by someone posting off topic shouldn't be less valid than
    > their right to post away. If I say "you shouldn't have the right
    > to say that" then I am trying to squelch their free speech. *If
    > I merely tell them to go elsewhere, I am not.


    Perhaps easiest of all is to just jump straight to the next post.

    Or do I misunderstand? Are you suggesting that this newsgroup change from
    its present status to that of a 'Moderated' newsgroup? Who are you
    suggesting becomes the 'Moderator'?
    --
    Two Ravens
    "...hit the squirrel..."

  13. Re: Usenet spam




    Two Ravens wrote:

    >Or do I misunderstand? Are you suggesting that this newsgroup change from
    >its present status to that of a 'Moderated' newsgroup?


    Not possible for technical reasons. Some servers would get the change
    and make it moderated, some wouldn't or would be configured to
    ignore the change. Users on the 'moderation' servers would have their
    posts sent by email to the moderation address and, if approved, be
    posted to the newsgroup. Users on the 'non-moderation' servers would
    post directly to the the newsgroup with no approval header. The
    'moderation' servers would reject the posts. Suddenly half the traffic
    gets silently deleted, but only on servers that accepted the moderating
    change. Because of this, few servers will accept moderating changes.

    And that's just for alt.* The Big-8 management board has a stated
    policy of not allowing any proposal to moderate in place.

    --
    Guy Macon



  14. Re: Usenet spam Re: Usenet spam




    Two Ravens wrote:

    (Part about my misunderstanding what Two Ravens was saying skipped
    with my apologies for misunderstanding)

    >You currently have a problem, in that you perceive that someone is harassing
    >you, there are two solutions to that, either make whatever complaint you
    >feel able, to the proper body involved in dealing with such problems, or
    >ignore it, there is no further realistic option, such as attempting to
    >enlist others who may use whatever newsgroups you are subscribed to either
    >sympathize, (which many may do), or take any action on your behalf. In the
    >latter case, by doing so you could well find that the problem you feel you
    >suffer, may, from your point of view, worsen.


    I agree. I do encourage others to not reply to such abuse, but of
    course they are free to ignore my request.





  15. Re: Usenet spam

    Michael Black wrote:

    > So when the Concordia newsgroup went moderated, I gather it was
    > deliberately to shut someone very specific out of the newsgroup.


    It was a deliberate change made in the interest of the Concordia
    community, and to keep unwanted traffic (from more than the source you're
    referring to) out of the group. I recommended against it, on the basis
    that such a change could not be guaranteed to be honoured on all news
    servers (in fact it hasn't been, though it was very readily accepted and
    honoured by all news admins we peer with and a few others, local to us
    that we don't peer with), and that the traffic we were trying to keep
    out of that newsgroup would simply move over to another one over which
    we have no such control. (As "concordia.*" groups are specific to our
    organization, there is a sense in which we do "own" these, though we
    accept that we have very little control over those that propagate
    outside of our own news server ...)

    The traffic you're referring to didn't even need to move, as it already
    had a presence in other "local" regional newsgroups. The other stuff
    plagues pretty much every other newsgroup anyway.

    The main drawback of the change we made, was yet another caveat which I
    warned about, but the university decided it was a risk they were willing
    to take for the benefit they perceived that moving to a moderated status
    would offer: switching a general discussion newsgroup to a moderated
    status simply killed the group, and put an end to all discussion, some
    of which had been at times very entertaining, and at other times quite
    interesting.

    Some traffic found its way into our "test" group for a while, but even
    that eventually died away. The sense I have is that users didn't want to
    feel their general discussion group might have any sense of censorship,
    despite the fact that messages from normally active members were generally
    accepted as posted (including a few that were particularly against the
    change of the group status).

    In a minor effort to keep all of this on topic to *this* group, of
    course, the news server where the concordia.* newsgroups "originate"
    runs Slackware (9.1 at the moment) Linux. :-)

    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sylvain Robitaille syl@alcor.concordia.ca

    Systems and Network analyst / Newsmaster Concordia University
    Instructional & Information Technology Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

  16. Re: Usenet spam

    Guy Macon wrote:

    >
    >
    >
    > Two Ravens wrote:
    >
    >>Or do I misunderstand? Are you suggesting that this newsgroup change from
    >>its present status to that of a 'Moderated' newsgroup?

    >
    > Not possible for technical reasons. Some servers would get the change
    > and make it moderated, some wouldn't or would be configured to
    > ignore the change. Users on the 'moderation' servers would have their
    > posts sent by email to the moderation address and, if approved, be
    > posted to the newsgroup. Users on the 'non-moderation' servers would
    > post directly to the the newsgroup with no approval header. The
    > 'moderation' servers would reject the posts. Suddenly half the traffic
    > gets silently deleted, but only on servers that accepted the moderating
    > change. Because of this, few servers will accept moderating changes.
    >
    > And that's just for alt.* The Big-8 management board has a stated
    > policy of not allowing any proposal to moderate in place.
    >


    It was more a rhetorical question really, in my opinion there are are only
    the solutions I proffered you. The might be an alternative, I've started
    crossposting, when I remember to, to alt.linux.slakware. mainly in the hope
    of keeping it alive, but it does provide at the moment a relatively
    non-contentious forum for those who might wish to use it. Perhaps I'll
    email Userlocal and point out its existence. Being listed on 'Userlocal'
    seems to have given the UK Slackware mailing list a friendly world wide
    membership, and more traffic than it had when it was known only to a UK
    audience.
    --
    Two Ravens
    "...hit the squirrel..."

  17. Re: Usenet spam Re: Usenet spam

    In alt.os.linux.slackware Two Ravens says:
    >Guy Macon wrote:


    >> In what way does the existence of a moderated newsgroup interfere
    >> with your freedom of expression if you are free to create an
    >> unmoderated newsgroup on the same topic?


    >It doesn't, I chose not to subscribe to moderated/censored newsgroups, and
    >fully accept the consequences of that choice. Therefore I am left with the
    >freedom to express my views in the main, in the manner I choose.


    >> We both agree that the world wide web should have full freedom
    >> of expression and that you should be able to put whatever you
    >> wish on your web site...


    Mr. Macon does _not_ believe this. He is sending out complaints
    against us, of all people, to isps, for what would be, for us,
    issues of "full freedom of expression." Unfortunately for him, he
    cannot prove that we are responsible for the for the usenet postings
    and web pages that he is complaining about.

    >No, in this case we don't agree, on usenet I think we, (everyone
    >who can work a newsreader rather than access it through Google
    >Groups), should have freedom of expression in *some* specific
    >newsgroups, that way one has to know what one is looking for if one
    >wishes to express some form of intolerance or other. Moderated or
    >censored newsgroups are not a place where one has full freedom of
    >expression.


    >> ...but I doubt that you would agree that
    >> you should be able to put whatever you wish on my web site.
    >> So why are the two cases different in your mind but not mine?


    >I don't agree that anyone should be able to alter anyone else's
    >Web-site, why would I?


    Mr. Macon has attempted to have one website, of which he claims that
    we are the author, shut down. What difference is there between
    shutting down a website and changing the content?

    >I can also accept that there may be a level of restriction imposed
    >upon the content of Web-sites by the legislation of some Nations,
    >whether or not I agree that there should be is a separate matter.


    >> I think that the basic difference in your attitude between the
    >> two is based upon an assumption that websites can be owned and
    >> newsgroups can't. The reality is that, by design and according
    >> to the clear intent of the developers who designed Usenet, and
    >> by agreement among the owners of the news servers that carry
    >> Usenet, newsgroups can be owned -- the moderator essentially
    >> owns the group and can do as he chooses with it.


    >You currently have a problem, in that you perceive that someone is
    >harassing you, there are two solutions to that, either make
    >whatever complaint you feel able, to the proper body involved in
    >dealing with such problems, or ignore it, there is no further
    >realistic option, such as attempting to enlist others who may use
    >whatever newsgroups you are subscribed to either sympathize, (which
    >many may do), or take any action on your behalf. In the latter
    >case, by doing so you could well find that the problem you feel you
    >suffer, may, from your point of view, worsen.


    And that is precisely what has happened.

    >> A related concept is that many users are under the impression
    >> that they collectively own the unmoderated newsgroups.


    >I'm not suffering from that delusion. How could I be? I have to pay
    >to use the newsgroups I do, and am prevented by the news provider
    >posting to some specified groups, even though I can read them.


    >I am grateful to Sylvain, in that he has educated me further on the
    >nature of newsgroups, however I was always aware that there are
    >limitations on 'usenet' on what one can do, and how one can go
    >about doing it.


    Yes, Sylvain does make, probably the best contribution to this ng,
    and we are sorry that he hasn't been around as much since our
    "dispute." Likewise the Polar Bear Boy. But we feel absolutely no
    such guilt about our alleged dealings with a certain county in
    Georgia.

    cordially, as always,

    rm

  18. Re: Usenet spam

    Michael Black says:

    >But if we slap down some bozo for posting off-topic, that's
    >not limiting "freedom of expression", that's merely keeping
    >a newsgroup created to discuss a certain topic on-topic.


    >We haven't limited his right to speak, we have just told
    >him to go somewhere else to speak. There are thousands
    >of newsgroups, and if none fit what he wants to say, he's
    >welcome to create a new newsgroup for that discussion.


    >A newspaper can choose what it publishes, and it doesn't limit
    >"free speech" if it won't let some topics be covered. The group or
    >person can go out and start up their own newspaper, and speak all
    >they want.


    A newspaper is a private company, run by a "moderator", who decides
    what to print. The issue of free speech is with respect to him and
    not the people who want him to publish what they want to see.

    But newsgroups, especially alt groups with no charter, are the
    equivalent of a bulletin board down at the local laundromat. It is
    taken for granted that the board was placed there to list ads and
    requests for baby-sitters, but that hardly means that the guy who
    puts up a post offering to sell his car should see his post taken
    down by some self-righteous asshole, with no authority, who thinks
    the bulletin board should be restricted to the baby-sitting
    industry.

    >If that newspaper is shut down because of what's being said, then
    >that's a free speech issue.


    Yes, but the newspaper analogy fails. It is not a good one.

    >There is little difference between someone wanting their issue to
    >get into the local newspaper, and some spammer in a newsgroup. In
    >both cases, they want to take advantage of the existing cluster to
    >provide readership to what they are saying.


    Oh, but there is a huge difference, as we pointed out above. The
    newspaper has an editor or moderator whose job it is to determine
    what should be posted. There is no such a person with unmoderated
    newsgroups.

    >But they aren't particularly interested in the newspaper or
    >newsgroup, they simply want to get across their message. But in
    >both cases, they forget that if the existing content went away,
    >there'd be no readership for their specific message or spam.


    People posting to newsgroups should, if they have any brains, only
    be posting to newsgroups where they suspect the readers will have an
    interest in what they say. For example, the Toyota newsgroup, which
    we often read, has a tremendous amount of off-topic junk, mostly
    about the politics of the oil industry and conservation, both topics
    that most Toyota owners are probably interested in. For that reason
    there is no real reason to kick these people off. But there is very
    little in common between Toyota owners and goldfish, for example, so
    there is no reason why there should be goldfish items in a Toyota
    newsgroup. And generally speaking, most people realize this and
    very few postings to the Toyota newsgroup are about goldfish.

    >So when the Concordia newsgroup went moderated, I gather it was
    >deliberately to shut someone very specific out of the newsgroup.
    >But that didn't shut up the guy, despite him being in jail for
    >almost 15 years. He merely found some other place to spout off,
    >some other group of people to bother with his junk posts.


    Sounds kind of harsh, sending someone to prison for 15 years because
    of what he was saying in a newsgroup. Or did you just mention the
    15 years because, although irrelevant, it makes him sound a lot
    worse than his real transgression would? If so, shame on you.

    >And I should point out that his posts (they were actually posted by
    >someone else) have disappeared from the local newsgroup since last
    >fall, when I made a point of trying to reach the poster. We'll see
    >towards the end of August what's happened, but I'm hoping we
    >actually have seen the last of his posts. And ultimately our
    >"freedom" to directly address the poster in an attempt to get rid
    >of him, or at least to speak the truth against his lies, were more
    >important than articles in old media about "oh no, a murderer is
    >posting to the newsgroups". I have taken people to task for doing
    >that, which resulted in the murderer getting far more coverage.


    If a murderer has served his time, why is his crime relevant to his
    use of usenet? Is he threatening others?

    >"Freedom of expression" works both ways. My right to not be
    >annoyed by someone posting off topic shouldn't be less valid than
    >their right to post away. If I say "you shouldn't have the right
    >to say that" then I am trying to squelch their free speech. If
    >I merely tell them to go elsewhere, I am not.


    You can tell people anything you want. And they should be able to
    do anything they want. But it's when you start whining to ISPs who
    are afraid of bad publicity and are willing to censor people out of
    that fear, then you should simply ask yourself who made you God?

    cordially, as always,

    rm

  19. Re: Usenet spam

    anon@anon.com wrote:

    > Sounds kind of harsh, sending someone to prison for 15 years because
    > of what he was saying in a newsgroup. ...


    No, the someone went to jail for a real crime. He was posting messages
    to various newsgroups, from jail, by way of an intermediary (someone
    else was posting messages on his behalf). These messages were generally
    about the crime he committed, and that caused strong reactions from many
    who were affected by that crime (and others who sympathized), that he
    should continue to be permitted to have a "voice" in public while
    serving time for a serious crime.

    This is a sensitive (and completely off-topic) issue, and should not be
    taken lightly.

    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sylvain Robitaille syl@alcor.concordia.ca

    Systems and Network analyst / Newsmaster Concordia University
    Instructional & Information Technology Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

  20. Re: Usenet spam

    Sylvain Robitaille (syl@alcor.concordia.ca) writes:
    > Michael Black wrote:
    >
    >> So when the Concordia newsgroup went moderated, I gather it was
    >> deliberately to shut someone very specific out of the newsgroup.

    >
    > It was a deliberate change made in the interest of the Concordia
    > community, and to keep unwanted traffic (from more than the source you're
    > referring to) out of the group.


    Sorry.

    I remembered a post by someone (just a poster to the newsgroup
    nobody official) after the changeover that did imply the murderer
    was the reason for the switch to a moderated newsgroup. It certainly
    made sense on that basis, since it seemed especially insensitive to
    be posting the drivel there (but of course, since he is a kook,
    "insensitive" would harldy be a consideration to him)

    But my point remains, it didn't squelch his "free speech" he
    just had to find another outlet, or rather, one of his outlets closed
    down. There are of course some who would want him squelched, which oddly
    enough seemed to give the murderer coverage in old media.

    So ultimately a moderated newsgroup can't be seen as a "free speech"
    issue, especially when it often seems to be implemented to keep out
    junk rather than restrict what is said on topic (though I don't know
    how well that works in practice).

    But you're right, it did kill the newsgroup. I read it for years,
    and posted when it seemed appropriate, and then when it became
    a moderated, the traffic fell off, and there seemed to be nothing
    to respond to.

    I think in an odd way, the people who like moderated newsgroups
    are in some ways like those who abuse newsgroups. Both need
    rules to operate, one group needing rules before they can do things,
    the other group having no sense of self-control. So the first group
    won't go near newsgroups without moderation, because they need
    those rules, not for themselves but because their view of a well
    ordered universe has rules and order. And it almost sounds like
    that's what happened, someone not using newsgroups made a decision
    that it should be moderated, and not realizing the damage it would
    have on legit traffic.

    And I won't respond again to this thread, because you're right, it is
    off-topic.

    Michael



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